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Transformers Classics
by yo go re

As we said before, when Grimlock was introduced to the Transformers: Classic line, he was remarkably shortpacked, wildly outnumbered by his case-mate, Mirage. Seeing that blue bastard warming the pegs every time you went to the store became a real headache. Taking advantage of a sale at Target, I decided to get at least one Mirage off the shelves, to see what kind of toy he was.

Mirage Together with Bumblebee, Mirage completes the Autobot spy team. Where Bumblebee focuses on information, however, Mirage prefers sabotage. Smart and fast, he's always ready with a joke, even when the situation doesn't call for one. Though he is not totally dedicated to the cause, he cares deeply for his friends, and will do anything he can to protect them. His specialized electro-disruptor weapon can create complex illusions, and even allows him to turn invisible.

So, check that out - Mirage's personality has changed. Back in G1, Mirage was an upperclass jerkwad who thought war was beneath him. If Classics really is the G1 continuation a lot of fans have chalked it up to be, maybe his time on Earth has mellowed him. Or maybe he lost all his money investing in the Dot Com boom, and realized that friends were the only true riches? Whatever the case, he's still not 100% behind the war, so at least that's the same.

Mirage is a sleek F1 racer, this is what a racecar is supposed to look like just as he used to be. For anyone who thinks NASCAR is a sport (or that it takes any kind of talent), Formula One shows them what a real race is supposed to look like. The car is 5¼" long, and covered with in-jokey sponsor stickers. The original Mirage toy had his own selection of stickers, but the only common point between 1984 and 2007 is the number 26. The wheels roll freely, and the cockpit is translucent blue.

The transformation is vaguely similar to G1 - legs in the back, arms in the middle, front end becomes the chest - but it's really complex. Remove the front spoiler, pull the back half out, turn him at the waist, fold out the arms and the hands, fold down first the shoulders and then the chest, and rotate the arms into position. Finito! Aussie ex-pat Alex Kubalsky designed Mirage; how'd the toy turn out?

To begin with, Mirage has one huge piece of kibble he's rich - he doesn't care if his hair looks stupid rising up above his shoulders. Yes, the G1 Mirage kept his wheels back there, too, but not this badly. His head has the classic "dome" design that set him apart from the other Autobots, but it looks pretty small and rests low between his shoulders; he seems like he's permanently shrugging. Also, he sppears to be very thin. His lower legs are huge, then it gets smaller as we move up to his miniscule waist, before finally spreading out again at the shoulders. Just looking at the design like this, Mirage isn't a very impressive Transformer.

But see, that's why your mother always told you it's what's inside that counts: Mirage is more than one static picture, more than the simple facts of his design. shoot and move, baby, shoot and move He's also the most poseable TF in the Classics line. Or maybe ever. He's got a balljointed head, hinged neck, hinged and balljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, double elbows, a swivel waist, balljointed hips, double knees and hinged/balljointed ankles. That's 21 points of articulation - there are Marvel Legends that don't make out that well! You start posing this guy, and suddenly all the kibble and the thin pieces don't seem to matter anymore. And those giantfet? Now they're holding the figure up, in all sorts of extreme poses.

Though Mirage's chest and hips are designed to suggest the shape of the car's cockpit and front scoop, it's just that - guns for all! a design element. Neither of them are really there. The cockpit is part of his back-kibble, while the front bit becomes an "electro disruptor" gun. Honestly, it still looks like the front bit of a car, not a gun. Maybe they could have sculpted some weaponly details on the underside, or something? The instructions show that you can store the gun on the back of the figure, but are rather vague on exactly where: the tab on top fits into a slot in the car's air intake.

Though the robot form has a few problems, Mirage is still a really good toy. Honestly, this is one you must own. He's probably the most over-produced figure in the Classic line (being one of the few to actually last long enough to reach clearance), and that's not helped by the fact that pictures will never do him justice. This is a toy you have to play with to appreciate, but once you do, he'll be a favorite. Just give him a chance.


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